When Do Pennsylvania Casinos Open? Live Blog On Reopening Of Coronavirus-Related Closures

Posted on May 29, 2020 - Last Updated on August 28, 2020

In early March, PlayPennsylvania began covering the coronavirus and ways for visitors to protect themselves during visits to casinos. A live blog started on March 12 provided updates on the closures of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos.

By March 16, six casinos in Pennsylvania shuttered to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

During Gov. Tom Wolf‘s press conference on March 16, he ordered a state shutdown of all nonessential businesses.

“The casinos in the counties originally targeted were asked to close and that will be true across the state. It’s a part of the broader message which is let us limit the opportunities for people to gather together. This has to be self-enforced. It’s not the government mandating anything.”

After Wolf’s conference, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) ordered the closure of the remaining six open casinos. Online casinos in Pennsylvania remained open for business.

The PGCB press release said in part:

“The order to close follows the rapid expansion of reported COVID-19 cases and is aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus. While the closure of the casinos is temporary, there is no specific indication of when reopening will occur. The public health and safety of patrons, casino employees and others are of paramount importance.”

On March 17, the remaining six casinos closed.

At first, some brick-and-mortar casinos indicated they would be closed for two weeks. However, the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus altered plans. The length of time casinos have remained closed is unprecedented. It has severely impacted casinos’ revenues, taxes, surrounding communities and the 17,000 people employed by the state’s casinos.

The path to reopening is becoming more obvious for casinos in PA. PlayPennsylvania will continue to provide updates on Pennsylvania casinos reopening as it becomes available.

Are casinos in Pennsylvania open?

Yes. On June 9, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and The Meadows were open for business. Lady Luck Nemacolin was the third PA casino to reopen its doors and it did so June 12 at 10 a.m. On June 19Hollywood Casino joined the reopening party.

When Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopens Friday, July 17, all PA casinos will be open. Pennsylvania reopened county-by-county so certain casinos welcomed back guests before others.

When will Rivers Casino Pittsburgh reopen?

Rivers Pittsburgh reopened to the public on Tuesday, June 9 at 9 a.m.

When will The Meadows reopen?

The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, PA reopened on Tuesday, June 9 at 8 a.m.

When will Lady Luck Nemacolin reopen?

Lady Luck Casino was the third casino in PA to reopen to the public, on June 12 at 10 a.m.

When will Hollywood Casino reopen?

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course opened again on Friday, June 19 at 9 a.m. Further video updates from Hollywood’s GM, and details on what to expect are provided below.

When will Mohegan Sun Pocono reopen?

Mohegan Sun Pocono opened on June 22.

When will Mount Airy Casino reopen?

Mount Airy Casino opened on June 22.

When will Presque Isle reopen?

Presque Isle Downs & Casino opened on June 26.

When will Wind Creek Casino reopen?

Wind Creek Casino opened on June 29.

When will Harrah’s Philadelphia reopen?

Harrah’s Philadelphia opened on June 26.

When will Parx Casino reopen?

Parx Casino opens on June 29.

When will Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopen?

Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopened July 17.

When will Valley Forge Casino reopen?

Valley Forge Casino opened on June 26.

Know before you go: New requirements for casinos in Pennsylvania

Before you visit a casino in Pennsylvania there are few things you should know. Your next visit will look different than your previous pre-coronavirus closure casino excursion. Per the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, all casinos in the state must follow COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols, which details the minimum safety and health-related requirements that are mandatory before reopening.

Key points to remember are:

  • Casinos can reopen at 50% capacity
  • Employees and guests must wear masks.
  • Markings on the floor to promote social distancing.
  • Enhanced cleaning throughout the facility.
  • Poker rooms are not authorized to operate due to players handling of cards and chips. Poker room operations will be re-examined based upon changing the CDC and PA Department of Health guidance.

Friday, August 28: South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook is open again

The South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook, which has been closed since mid-March, has reopened. Their hours are:

  • Sunday through Thursday
    12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday
    12 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Play Pennsylvania exclusively reported in July that Oaks Race & Sportsbook permanently closed. That is one less OTB left in PA.

South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook will soon have a new neighbor in Live! Casino Philadelphia. The Cordish Gaming Group plans to open Live! Casino Philadelphia in late 2020. In an unprecedented move, their iGaming offering already arrived. PlayLive! Casino launched in August. An online sportsbook is expected in September, also.

Friday, July 24: Close the book on Oaks Race & Sportsbook

Play Pennsylvania learned that the Oaks Race & Sportsbook has permanently closed. A customer service rep at Parx said that the OTB in Montgomery County shuttered for good and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board confirmed it.

After undergoing a $500,000 renovation in anticipation for offering sports betting in March 2019, Oaks Race & Sportsbook set highs for handle and revenue in March and April 2019. However, a few months later, online wagering launched in PA. Full the full story, click here.

Wednesday, July 22: Layoffs hit PA casino workers; Live! Casino in Pittsburgh to hire 500; Mount Airy Sports Book Back for MLB

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh laid off over 60 employees.

Spokesperson Jack Horner said:

“The pandemic has had significant impact on the gaming industry worldwide, including our North Shore operations. Regrettably, we had to eliminate the positions of 64 team members yesterday. We appreciate and value their contributions. We’re providing assistance to help them transition to their next opportunity.”

Last week, a number of workers at Valley Forge Casino told PlayPennsylvania on the condition of anonymity that “significant layoffs” are expected, possibly close to 300 employees. None of the employees who were brought back when the casino reopened are expected to be furloughed.

David Strow, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Boyd Gaming, which owns and operates Valley Forge Casino said:

“Given these ongoing challenges and continued uncertainty, we are moving forward with permanent layoffs of team members who were still on furlough and had not been recalled to work.  These layoffs are at the lower end of the range outlined in the WARN Act letters issued in May. We are notifying affected team members as expeditiously as we can.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for our Company, and one we had hoped would not be necessary. To assist impacted team members during this difficult time, we will be providing financial assistance to those who are affected.”

Of Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s 1,700 employees, half will be back to work. However, some of them will be seeing a smaller paycheck. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the company has imposed a pay cut of up to 15% on salaried employees. Hourly workers’ pay remains the same.

Wyomissing, PA-based Penn National Gaming announced in mid-June that, effective Aug. 15, the company could permanently lay off as many as 233 employees in Pennsylvania and Nevada, according to a notice filed with the state Department of Labor & Industry. A June WARN notice shows Hollywood Casino could lay off up to 64 people and The Meadows could axe 180 workers. If the layoffs are permanent, the impacted employees might be laid off on Sept. 15 or within two weeks of that date.

On a more positive note…

While many casinos are cutting jobs, the coming-soon Live! Casino in Westmoreland is looking to hire over 500 people. Open positions are listed on Live! Casino Pittsburgh’s website. Expect to see a recruitment center at the lower level of the Westmoreland Mall where applicants can meet with casino reps.

Live! Casino is sponsoring a dealer school at Westmoreland County Community College. School starts on August 17 and it will train qualified applicants with the necessary skills needed in the gaming industry and provide the opportunity to interview for a dealer position at Live! Casino.

With Major League Baseball set to return Thursday, and NBA and NHL not far behind, Mount Airy Casino Resort announced it will reopen its Sports Book on Thursday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Mount Airy Casino Sports Book hours:

  • Monday-Friday from 2:00-10:00 pm
  • Saturday from 10:00 am-Midnight
  • Sunday 10:00 am- 10:00 pm

You can also place a bet 24/7 anytime at Fox Bet online sportsbook which operates through its partnership with Mount Airy Casino.

Seats and booths are socially distanced and hand sanitizer is available. In the press release, Mount Airy says chairs will be sanitized after each guest departs and the Sports Book will be cleaned in its entirety daily.

Friday, July 17: Rivers Casino Philadelphia Last Casino in PA to Reopen, Exclusive pics from the gaming floor

The dynamic nature of novel viruses leaves little time to reflect, but today seems like a good day.

  • March 12: The first casino in Pennsylvania closed to stop the spread of coronavirus
  • March 17: All twelve PA casinos closed
  • June 9: The first two casinos in the state reopen – Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and The Meadows
  • 84 days: All casinos were closed in PA
  • July 17: Rivers Casino Philadelphia, the only remaining shuttered, resumed operations.
  • 126 days: Amount of time from when the first casino closed to the last casino opened.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia welcomed back guests at 9 a.m. Friday with increased safety and sanitation measures. Due to a mandate by Gov. Tom Wolf and the PA. Dept. of Health, there is now no eating or drinking permitted at the casino. That means no drink service at tables and slots, and no bar service. This is in addition to the also-temporary ban on smoking.

Upon arrival, each guests’ temperatures are taken upon by a touchless reader. Masks are required for patrons and employees. Rivers Casino Philadelphia, and all of the state’s casinos, must follow the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols. It details the minimum safety and health-related requirements that are mandatory before reopening.

While the PGCB protocols state that the all casinos can reopen at 50% capacity, Rivers Casino Philadelphia is limiting it to 25% until further notice. They manage occupancy via a customer counter at the North Entrance. Like their sister location in Pittsburgh, Rivers Philadelphia is employing the new “Rivers Clean” program. Team members wearing fuchsia shirts can be seen cleaning and fuchsia signage signals hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes.

Also, Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh upgraded its HVAC system to include airPHX, which continuously disinfects indoor air and eliminates coronavirus on surfaces. Also, AtmosAir was installed which has been proven to neutralize coronavirus by more than 99.9%.

The most noticeable difference, besides no eating, drinking or smoking, is the plexiglass barriers at table games. While many casinos in PA have had them at some slot machines, Rivers Casino Philadelphia had all available table games outfitted with plexiglass to create a barrier between players.

Tuesday, July 14: Rivers Casino Philadelphia to reopen July 17

The final PA casino to reopen doors following coronavirus closures in mid-March is set to do so this Friday. On July 17 at 9 a.m., Rivers Casino Philadelphia opens again to the public after closing four months ago. Their new hours of operation will be:

  • Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Open 24 hours from Friday 9 a.m. through Monday 5 a.m.

The hours they are closed will be used to conduct extra sanitization, and Rivers is adhering to PGCB, CDC, PA Department of Health, and City of Philadelphia guidelines to ensure best practices to protect staff and guests.

“Since voluntarily shutting down in March, we’ve been listening closely to public health experts and making changes — from gaming floor modifications to new policies and procedures,” said Rivers Casino Philadelphia General Manager Rob Long. “Our goal is to provide the safest possible environment, and we’ll continue evolving as new information becomes available.”

Procedures to expect at Rivers Casino Philadelphia:

  • Mask mandate and temperature checks
  • No indoor dining or drinking
  • No smoking inside (designated smoking areas set up outside)
  • Limited gaming seating to accommodate social distancing; plexiglass barriers between patrons at table games
  • Upgraded HVAC and indoor air purification systems
  • No poker but the BetRivers Sportsbook will be open
  • 25% capacity until further notice, monitored by customer counter at entrance

According to the presser, more than half of Rivers’ approximately 1,700 employees will be returning to work. Salaried employees will be taking a pay cut of up to 15% while there will be no reduction for hourly employees, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Thursday, July 9: Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Reopens on Friday…again

As rivers ebb and flow, so do casino reopenings. The tide of back-in-the-game spirits sunk when Rivers Casino Pittsburgh closed on July 8 less than a month after welcoming back guests. The casino was the first to reopen in the state after coronavirus forced mid-March shutdowns. They followed the orders to close their doors again from the Allegheny County Health Department since there was an uptick in positive casinos.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh will open again on Friday, July 10 at 9 a.m. It will be open Monday-Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 24 hours from Thursday at 9 a.m. until Mondays at 4 a.m.

All previous coronavirus protocols from the PGCB and Rivers will continue. In addition:

  • Indoor air quality upgrade: Rivers upgraded its HVAC system to include airPHX, a technology that continuously disinfects indoor air and eliminates coronavirus on surfaces. The casino also features AtmosAir, an indoor air quality purification system that is proven to neutralize coronavirus by more than 99.9%.
  • No smoking: A new order from the PA Department of Health and the PGCB temporarily prohibits smoking at all PA casinos.
  • No indoor dining or drinking: Per the Allegheny County Health Department
  • Updated mask mandate: Previously mask were required for all employees and guests. With the added layers of safety, no one is permitted, with no exceptions to pull masks down.

Said Rivers Casino General Manager Bill Keena:

“We thank the Allegheny County Health Department for its confidence and for the important work they’re doing. As a regulated business, we have a natural culture of compliance. We strive daily to meet or exceed all health and safety standards and to adapt quickly as new information becomes available.”

Wednesday July 8: No smoking allowed at casinos in Pennsylvania…for now; Rivers Casino Philadelphia hopeful for next week

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Director of Communication Doug Harbach confirmed to PlayPennsylvania that smoking is temporarily banned from all PA casinos.

PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole reached out to all of the state’s casinos about implementing the temporary ban. O’Toole determined that in the PGCB protocols, casinos must comply with guidelines from the PA Department of Health which issued an updated order mandating masks in public. There will be no smoking inside public facilities. since nothing in the order permits a person to pull down a mask to smoke.

During this morning’s PGCB meeting O’Toole said:

“Since casinos have began to reopen on June 9, numerous safety precautions have worked well. Late last week, all casinos implemented temporary policies to prohibit smoking inside the casino facilities. Some casinos are offering an open air area outside of the casino for smokers with the requirement there is social distancing.”

Rivers Casino Philadelphia is the only casino in Pennsylvania that has yet to open. (Rivers Casino Pittsburgh did open but closed due to a rise in cases in Allegheny cases). O’Toole said Rivers Philadelphia is hopeful to reopen next week.

Tuesday, July 7: Are Pennsylvania two off-track-betting locations open?

The South Philadelphia Race & Turf Club and Oaks Race & Sportsbook, both operated by Parx, remain closed. Greenwood Racing Inc. owns Parx and both of the OTBs.

Despite voicemails at both locations saying they were open, Play Pennsylvania took a ride to check out both locations on July 5.

Oaks Race & Sportsbook, located in Montgomery County, moved to the green phase on June 26. The OTB was still closed with signs on the doors, overgrown grass and deer roaming the empty parking lot. 

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook, in Philadelphia entered “a modified, restricted green phase of reopening” on Friday, July 3. A sign on the door said, “The South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook is temporarily closed for the safety of our guests. We anticipate reopening on March 29, 2020.”

Friday, July 3: Rivers Pittsburgh re-closes as cases spike again in PA

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, which was among the first two casinos to re-open on June 9, closed again as of midnight Thursday. The announcement came on Thursday afternoon in light of Allegheny County reporting its highest single-day number of positive coronavirus tests with 230 on Wednesday.

Thursday marked the fourth straight day of triple-digit case increases with 177 reported, bringing the county total since March 14 to 3,280. No change was reported in the number of coronavirus-related death, which remains at 187 for Allegheny. A total of 667 new cases were reported statewide on Friday.

Allegheny, which includes Pittsburgh, instated a new shutdown order for bars, restaurants, casinos, and gatherings of 25 or more, for one week. The county’s health director, Dr. Debra Bogen, requested that residents of the county follow a voluntary stay-at-home protocol to limit travel. According to Fox29 Philadelphia:

“Health officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny County say they are finding that many of the people testing positive are describing socializing in bars and returning from beach vacations and travel to coronavirus hot spots in other parts of the U.S.”

Wednesday, July 2: No smoking at two PA casinos; VGTs back on at Rutter’s

Smoking has always been synonymous with casinos. However, there was a recent push pre-pandemic to change that. Now since masks are mandatory at casinos, some feel this is the time to once-and-for-all make them smoke-free. Will it happen? We’ll see. When Wind Creek released it’s reopening plans it said:

“Smoking will not be allowed on the casino floor, public spaces or public bathroom areas. The ONLY place it will be allowed is in designated smoking areas provided at each property.”

Yesterday, Parx temporarily suspended indoor smoking.

Fourteen Rutter’s video game room locations are now open. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, safety measures are in place for the rooms which house VGTs.

Scott Hartman, Rutter’s President and CEO, said:

“We are excited to be providing entertainment for our customers once again. However, the health and safety of everyone in our stores continues to be our top priority. We are operating our Video Gaming Rooms in accordance with Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulations and guidelines to help promote a fun and safe experience.”

Monday, June 29: Parx Casino and Wind Creek open today

Pennsylvania’s two top revenue earning casinos are once again back in business. After over 100 days of darkness, Parx Casino and Wind Creek Bethlehem are open.

Eleven of the state’s twelve brick-and-mortar casinos are now open. All of them are adhering to PGCB health and safety standards for resuming operations which include key points such as operating at 50% capacity, requiring guests and employees to wear masks, increased cleaning, and no poker rooms to start.

Know before you go Parx Casino:

  • The casino will close from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday to allow for deep cleaning. Parx Casino new hours of operation will be Monday to Thursday – 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday at 9 a.m. through Monday at 3 a.m, Parx will operate on a 24–hour basis, with ongoing cleaning occurring during operating hours
  • Entry is limited to certain marked doors at each of the three main entry areas.
  • Upon entrance, a security officer will greet and screen you and ask you to use hand sanitizer. The screening process involves some questions and a temperature check upon entry. You will have your temperature checked using contactless thermal cameras or infrared thermometers. If you register a temperature at or above 100.4°F, you will be asked to take a secondary temperature screening in a non-invasive manner. If the secondary temperature check also registers a temperature at or above 100.4°F, you will not be allowed entry into the property. You must pass a temperature check to enter the property.

Know before you go Wind Creek Casino:

  • Wind Creek’s updated hours are 6 a.m. – 3 a.m. daily.
  • Wind Creek is strongly encouraging visitors use their reservation system to book their visit to the casino. Currently, they are the only casino in PA with a reservation system for gaming. Here’s why as per their website.

“If you want to be sure you’ll get in, secure a reservation at WindCreekCasino.com, through the WindCreekCasino App, by calling our reservation line 877-726-3777 or through a casino host starting June 24th. If you’re feeling lucky, you can walk up any time, but you may have to wait. We’re doing this in order to make sure our property capacity stays well below the limits. Less people in the building makes it harder for viruses to spread, so we’ll take this very seriously.”

  • You do not need a reservation to play at Wind Creek. Walk-ups are welcome, but they advise you might have to wait in line.
  • Temperature checks conducted at entry
  • Smoking will not be allowed on the casino floor, public spaces or public bathroom areas. At Wind Creed Casino, the only place it will be allowed is in designated smoking areas provided at each property.
  • Wind Creek was one of the few casinos to share the health and safety protocols in the event a team member tests positive. On the Wind Creek Standard which lays out their reopening plan, it says, “In the unfortunate event of a Guest or Team Member testing positive for the virus, our trained team members will implement enhanced sanitization and contact-tracing protocols.”

Friday, June 26: Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, Valley Forge Casino, Presque Isle Downs and Casino now open

Three more Pennsylvania reopened their doors on Friday.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia said “hello” to guests at 9 a.m. Valley Forge Casino followed at 11 a.m. and Presque Isle Downs at noon.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia and Presque Isle Dows will operate 24/7.

Following Friday’s reopening, the Valley Forge Casino will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Parx and Wind Creek Bethlehem ready to return Monday, June 29. Only Rivers Casino Philadelphia remains as the only casino in the state still closed since Philadelphia is opting for a slower transition to the “green” phase.

Tuesday, June 23: Presque Isle Downs Casino and Valley Forge Casino reopen Friday

The gang is (almost) all here. Eleven of PA’s twelve casinos announced reopening dates.

Presque Isle Downs Casino will open on Friday, June 26 at noon. They will operate 24/7.

Valley Forge Casino Resort, the first casino in PA to close due to the coronavirus, will also reopen on Friday, June 26 at 11 a.m. The casino will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

David Zerfing, Vice President and General Manager at Valley Forge Casino Resort said:

“As we prepare to reopen Valley Forge, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, team members and the community through ‘Boyd Clean,’ a set of comprehensive health and safety protocols that fully meet the highest standards set forth by local, state and federal health officials. We look forward to welcoming back our community and providing our guests with a safe and enjoyable entertainment experience.”

All Pennsylvania casinos are following PGCB health and safety standards for resuming operations which include key points such as operating at 50% capacity, requiring guests and employees to wear masks, increased cleaning, and no poker rooms to start.

Know before you go Presque Isle Downs Casino: Upon arrival, they will be conducting temperature checks for visitors and employees. Anyone with a temperature of 100.0 F or higher will not be allowed into our building. Anyone exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 (such as coughing, chills, and shortness of breath) after entering may be asked to leave.

Due to temperature checks there will be limited points of entry to the South, North and Main Entrances only.

Live racing is set to tentatively resume at Presque Isle Downs on July 27. They are planning to open the backside on July 8Racing operations will resume without spectators on July 27 through October 22 with a 4:45 p.m. Post Time. Race days will be slated for Monday through Wednesday with Thursdays being added at a later date which has yet to be determined.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia remains the only casino in Pennsylvania yet to announce a reopening date. Philadelphia said they would be doing a “more phased option” and keeping some restrictions in place until July 3.

Monday, June 22: Mount Airy and Mohegan Sun Pocono reopen; Harrah’s Philadelphia, Wind Creek and Parx announce reopening dates

Today, Mohegan Sun Pocono and Mount Airy Casino reopened to the public. There was a line to get into Mount Airy.

The six remaining closed casinos are moving to the green phase this Friday and will be permitted to reopen. Today, a number of them announced official dates that they are planning on welcoming back guests.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack opens on Friday, June 26. Caesars Rewards Seven Stars cardholders will have exclusive access to the casino beginning at 9:00 a.m. The property will open to the general public at 11:00 a.m. Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia will be open 24/7.

  • Know before you go Harrah’s Casino: See above “new requirements for casinos in Pennsylvania” (masks for employees and guests, 50% capacity, enhanced. cleaning, no poker rooms). Also, at Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, the sportsboook and Top Golf will be temporarily closed until further notice. Kiosks will be available for sports wagering.

Wind Creek Casino reopens Monday, June 29.

  • Know before you go Wind Creek Casino: Wind Creek is offering a gaming reservation for guests who want to visit the Bethlehem casino. However, it isn’t required.  The casino will be abiding by the guidelines for all casinos in PA and in addition, require temperature checks for all guests and staff.

Parx Casino reopens Monday, June 29, 9 a.m.

  • Know before you go Parx Casino: The casino’s new hours of operation will be: Monday to Thursday – 9am to 3am. Parx will close from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday to allow for deep cleaning. Parx will operate on a 24-basis from Friday at 9 a.m. through Monday at 3 a.m.
  • “The casino will be abiding by the PGCB safety guidelines. In addition, prior to entry, a security officer will greet and screen you and ask you to use hand sanitizer. The screening process involves some questions and a temperature check upon entry. You will have your temperature checked using contactless thermal cameras or infrared thermometers. If you register a temperature at or above 100.4°F, you will be asked to take a secondary temperature screening in a non-invasive manner. If the secondary temperature check also registers a temperature at or above 100.4°F, you will not be allowed entry into the property. You must pass a temperature check to enter the property.”

Moving to green phase on June 26 but have yet to announce reopening date:

Friday, June 19: All PA casinos will open soon as six remaining closed casinos get “green” light

Pennsylvania’s remaining six closed casinos can reopen as early as June 26. On June 19, Governor Tom Wolf announced twelve counties are moving to the green phase on Friday, June 26 and are permitted to resume operations.
Casinos and their counties moving to the green phase on June 26 are:
  • Presque Isle Downs (Erie)
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia (Delaware)
  • Valley Forge Casino (Montgomery)
  • Parx (Bucks)
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
  • Wind Creek Casino (Northampton)

No official reopening dates or times have been released by each casino yet. PlayPennsylvania will continue to monitor and update here. The remaining six closed casinos now have more than a light at the end of the tunnel. They have a target date for reopening after over one hundred days of being closed to the public.

Philadelphia, home of Rivers Casino Philadelphia, said they would be doing a “more phased option” and keeping some restrictions in place until July 3. Some additional businesses like gyms, malls, libraries, and museums will have to wait until July 3 to reopen. Although casinos were not specifically mentioned, it’s safe to assume they are similar in nature enough to fall under the same delayed timeline.

As of Friday, June 19, four casinos are open in the state:

  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (Allegheny)
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin (Fayette)
  • The Meadows (Washington)
  • Hollywood Casino (Dauphin)

Two more are set for June 22:

  • Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino (Luzerne)
  • Mount Airy Casino (Monroe)

Wednesday, June 17: Mount Airy Casino and Mohegan Sun Pocono ready to reopen on June 22

Mount Airy Casino will reopen on Monday, June 22 at noon. There isn’t a hint of their plans on their social media channels, so we simply called and asked. A guest service agent gave us the word. Some COVID-19 safety protocols for guests while at the Mount Airy Casino are listed on the website.

Some include:

  • Guests and employees must wear masks.
  • The casino reserves the right to administer temperature checks to anyone who appears to be displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Mohegan Sun Pocono reopens on June 22. Per PGCB guidelines, all visitors and employees must wear masks. Mohegan Sun Pocono indicated on their website guests will receive a temperature check as they enter and the checks will be made using thermal cameras.

Anthony Carlucci, President & General Manager of Mohegan Sun Pocono said:

“Over the past few months Mohegan Sun Pocono has been laser-focused on preparing our property for a safe reopen and we’re really excited to welcome back both our valued guests and more of our incredible team members on June 22nd. With the guidance of industry experts, regulatory agencies, and in closely mirroring the comprehensive protocols put in place by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s (MGE) flagship property in Connecticut, we feel we are well-prepared for our doors to open and can’t wait to welcome guests to a clean, safe and fun environment.”

Monday, June 15: Hollywood Casino gets the green light

Dauphin County moves into the green phase on Friday and Hollywood Casino is ready once again for lights, camera, action! Doors open June 19 at 9 a.m.

General Manager Dan Ihm has been keeping guests informed on Hollywood Casino’s Facebook page with video updates.

What to expect when Hollywood Casino reopens:

  • Per PGCB guidelines, masks are required for visitors and employees. Also, the poker room is temporarily closed.
  • Two entrances for guests, the valet entrance and the bus entrance. Explanations of where to park upon arrival are in this video.
  • Hollywood Casino announced that to start, they will close from 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. daily for a full disinfectant of the entire casino with a fogger. Throughout the day, team members will also be cleaning.
  • Increased hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes.
  • Half of the slot machine and table games operating
  • Horse racing resumes at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course on Friday, June 19. The third floor will be open for viewing live racing and simulcast wagering. The outdoor area remains closed temporarily.

General Manager Dan Ihm is back with answers to your questions

General Manager Dan Ihm is back with answers to your questions. We can't wait to welcome you back this Friday, June 19.#welcomebackGambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Publicado por Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course em Domingo, 14 de junho de 2020

Friday, June 12: Lady Luck Nemacolin is the third PA casino to reopen; Three more casinos turning green soon

As of Friday morning at 10 a.m., there are three casinos open in Pennsylvania, all in the western part of the state. Lady Luck Nemacolin in Farmington, PA welcomed guests back on Friday. Like The Meadows and Rivers Pittsburgh, they reopened at 50% capacity, with social distancing requirements and ample sanitizing stations.

Additionally, Lady Luck is requiring all patrons (and employees) to wear masks, which will be provided at the door, the Herald-Standard reports. They are also requiring temperature checks of all employees and guests upon entry, and have a “green shirt clean team” that will be sanitizing gaming areas frequently.

Governor Wolf announced on June 12 that eight more counties would move to green next Friday, June 19. Those counties include: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Schuylkill. As of today, 46 PA counties are in the green phase and 21 are in yellow.

Casinos are allowed to reopen in the green phase. Beginning June 19, the following casinos will be in the clear to reopen, assuming they are compliant with the PGCB’s reopening safety protocols.

  • Mohegan Sun Pocono (Luzerne)
  • Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (Dauphin)
  • Mount Airy Casino (Monroe)

Presque Isle Downs (Erie) remains yellow, despite all other counties in the western part of the state moving to green. The following casinos will likely be among the last to reopen, as they are in counties that were hit harder by the virus. These counties, all in the southeast part of the state, remain in phase yellow.

  • Wind Creek Casino (Northampton)
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia (Delaware)
  • Parx (Bucks)
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
  • Valley Forge Casino (Montgomery)

Wednesday, June 10: PA Gaming Control Board says first day back for casinos went well, more to open in the “weeks to come”

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole said that Tuesday’s reopenings at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and The Meadows went “very well.” During PGCB’s monthly meeting on Wednesday morning, O’Toole commented that he expects all casino locations to reach the green phase of the reopening process “in the weeks to come.”

Rivers Casino and The Meadows “met or exceeded” the PGCB health and safety standards for resuming operations. Major new guidelines include mask-wearing for visitors and guests, 50% capacity on the gaming floor, and social distancing measures. However, casinos can add additional measures.

The Meadows casino and hotel are now open, but live racing has not yet resumed. The Racebook is open and simulcast wagering will be available during limited hours.

There were no temperature checks conducted for visitors during our visit to The Meadows and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Parx Casino, which is still closed, indicated to the Bucks County Courier Times that temperature checks would be required. If it is over 100.4 degrees, visitors will be asked to take a non-invasive secondary temperature screening.

Tuesday, June 9: Rivers Pittsburgh and The Meadows reopen doors

Rivers Pittsburgh opened today at 9 a.m. and and is implementing a new “Rivers Clean” initiative throughout the casino to assure thorough sanitization. Rivers brought back 1,000 employees for the restart of operations. The casino will be operating with new business hours and at limited capacity to start out.

Image courtesy of Rivers Casino

New hours to allow for deep cleaning:

  • Weekdays: 9 a.m. – 4 a.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. through Monday at 4 a.m.

General Manager Bill Keena commented:

“It’s new for all. We are all going to be learning as we go along. I’ve been in this business for a long time and have never been faced with anything like this. We have worked so closely with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board who have been so good through all of this. We may need to change it after a week. The reason we picked it is they are our slowest hours. If the business and demand is there, we will revert back to 24/7.”

New protocols:

  • Fuchsia is the color of clean. Fuchsia (a.k.a. pink) indicates signage directing guests to the 140 new hand sanitizing stations and disinfectant wipes. Also, members of the Rivers Clean team sport the shirts.
  • If you have gaming chips from prior visits, bring to cashier to be exchanged before sitting down at a table game.
  • No eating or smoking at live table games.
  • Prior to sitting at a live table, all guests must use hand sanitizer.
Image courtesy of Meadows

The Meadows originally announced it would open at noon, but guests were allowed in at 8 a.m. Like Rivers, Meadows is operating with limited game seating to allow for social distancing. They’re also operating at 50 percent capacity and requiring masks.

Kevin Brogan, Meadows Casino VP of Marketing, shared with PlayPA some of the safety protocols now in place.

“We will utilize a fog machine on a daily basis which allows us to disinfect the entire casino floor regularly. We have temporarily adjusted our table games experience which includes no smoking, limited seating, and drink service in sealable containers. Finally, we have been able to provide our slot customers a significant number of themes by installing plexiglass dividers between some of our most popular games.”

Friday, June 5: First casinos in PA will reopen soon; new safety measures to know before you go

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (Allegheny), Lady Luck Nemacolin (Fayette) and The Meadows (Washington) moved into the green phase. In the green phase, all entertainment such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls can open at 50% occupancy.

Here is when Pennsylvania first casinos plan to reopen:

  • The Meadows Casino: June 9 at 12 p.m.
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: June 9 at 9 a.m.
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin: June 12 at 10 a.m.

As per guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, all guests will be required to wear a mask and no poker rooms will be open yet.

Safety protocols to know before you go are listed here:

There is finally an answer to when casinos in Pennsylvania will reopen but things are still stalled for horse racing. None of the tracks have officially said when they plan to begin racing again.

Mount Airy Casino in Monroe County is still in the yellow phase. They recently posted on their Facebook page that they are now accepting reservations for their hotel beginning on June 19.

Hollywood Casino (Dauphin County) is also in the yellow phase. General manager Dan Ihm provided an update about cleaning and plans for reopening. To start, Hollywood Casino will not be open 24 hours. They will close from 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. for thorough cleaning.

Wednesday, June 3: The Meadows and Rivers Pittsburgh are the first PA casinos to announce a concrete reopening date

It’s official: PA casinos will begin reopening to the public – soon. The Meadows announced via social media on Wednesday, June 3 a plan to reopen on June 9 at noon. They will be opening “with limited offerings” but still, it’s a start. We will update with more details here as they are available.

We are pleased to announce that we will be opening our doors with limited offerings on Tuesday, June 9, at 12:00pm….

Publicado por The Meadows Racetrack & Casino em Quarta-feira, 3 de junho de 2020

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh also announced a plan to reopen June 9, at 9 a.m. Via social media, Rivers laid out plans to open their doors in compliance with PGCB safety protocols. That includes the gaming floor and restaurants being limited to 50% capacity for now.

Socially-distanced seating at gaming tables and slots will be in effect.

Lady Luck Nemacolin will reopen on June 12 at 10 a.m., according to their Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 2: No comment yet on possible PA casino reopenings despite some counties moving to the green phase on Friday; “pent-up demand” for casinos that have already opened

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, The Meadows and Lady Luck Nemacolin are in counties moving to the green phase on Friday. In the green phase, casinos are permitted to reopen at 50% occupancy and it must meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and The Meadows were not able to comment on when they planned to reopen when asked by Play Pennsylvania. Lady Luck Nemacolin has not yet returned request for comment.

PGCB Director of Communication Doug Harbach said they would be on-site to ensure COVID-19 protocols are being met. Since systems are restarting, regulators will also check and verify to assure they meet PA gaming law and regulations.

Lady Luck Nemacolin released a health and disinfection program.

Highlights include:

  • Reduced occupancy
  • Physical distancing
  • Temperature checks upon entry
  • Guests and associate must wear masks until further notice.

As of June 2, 321 of the 989 casinos across the country restarted operations. Three casinos in Delaware – Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway & Casino – opened on opened on June 1.

The American Gaming Association has been evaluating the reopening process and working with members to ensure a safe resumption of operations for employees and guests. They are also conducting research to gauge guest’s expectations.

Casey Clark, senior vice president of strategic communications at the AGA told Play Pennsylvania:

“It’s starting to sound like a cliche using the word ‘unprecedented’ but it is. We are beginning to see the forrest through the trees and when we can return to some semblance of normal. It’s not just about ‘when,’ it’s about what will make people comfortable to come back to a property and be able to identify that.”

Casinos that have welcomed back guests have provided feedback to the AGA.

“Customers are respecting social distancing and PPE requirements,” said Clark. “People are driving and lining up and there is pent-up demand. American consumers are eager to reengage and we want to provide a healthy, safe, responsible way to offer it to them and the employees.”

Friday, May 29: Three casinos will move to green phase on June 5 and could reopen

Gov. Wolf announced 16 more counties in Pennsylvania will move from the yellow to the green phase starting on June 5. Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, The Meadows and Lady Luck Nemacolin are in counties moving to the next phase and are permitted to reopen in the green phase.

Lady Luck Nemacolin and The Meadows did not have any updates on their website or social media pages.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh posted that do not have a reopening date yet.

Check back at Play Pennsylvania updates as we reach out to reps for comment.

The PGCB released “COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols, which details the minimum safety and health-related requirements that are mandatory before reopening.

Thursday, May 28: Delaware’s three casinos set to open Monday with limits

As of May 28, no casino in Pennsylvania is open.

Delaware’s three casinos, Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway & Casino, will open on Monday, June 1. For Delaware, it’s a big part of their reopening process. In bordering Pennsylvania, all 12 casinos remain closed with no target date for resuming operations. Currently, 217 of the 989 casinos across the country are open. When the three in Delaware open, they will be the closest open casinos to Pennsylvania.

Delaware casinos will welcome back guests with strict rules and limits, according to the Delaware State News:

  • Guests must wear face coverings, practice strict social distancing and complete medical screenings and temperature checks upon arrival.
  • Casinos limited to 30% capacity.
  • Employees will wear masks and have temperatures checked.
  • No table games.
  • The sportsbook, retail stands, bars and Dover Downs’ hotel will be closed.

Tuesday, May 26: What to expect during your next visit to Harrah’s Philadelphia; Wind Creek furloughs 2,100 employees

Caesars, which operates Harrah’s Philadelphia, unveiled updated health and safety protocols.

Caesars CEO Tony Rodio commented in a video:

“We’ve carefully considered guidance from government authorities, medical experts and the CDC to develop a new way of operating in light of COVID-19. We are determined as ever to deliver fun environments with the same level of friendly service you’ve come to expect from our resorts. While all the excitement awaits, we recognize there are changes you should be prepared for when you’re ready for your next visit.”

Highlights from the Caesars health and safety protocols include:

  • Team members will provide hand sanitizer at check-in, table games, cage, and other transaction points.
  • Slot machines banks have been arranged to allow for proper social distancing.
  • Machines are disinfected regularly throughout the day.

Changes to table games:

  • Positions will be limited at each table to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • Three players per blackjack / pai gow / carnival game table.
  • Four players per roulette / poker table.
  • Six players per craps table.
  • Guests will not be able to congregate behind players at a gaming table.
  • Where possible, procedures have been adjusted to allow only dealers to touch cards.
  • High-touch gaming items (dice, chips, etc.) will be routinely disinfected, and cards will be refreshed more frequently.
  • Dealers will provide hand sanitizer to every arriving player.

Changes at race and sportsbooks:

  • Chairs and tables in the viewing area have been adjusted to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided at betting stations.

Wind Creek Hospitality will furlough 2,100 employees on June 1, Lehigh Valley Live reported. Four hundred employees are being retained. Furloughed employees will still have benefits paid by Wind Creek and they will be eligible for unemployment compensation. When Wind Creek reopens, it plans to implement a reservation system.

Friday, May 22: Full breakdown of each casino and where it stands in state’s phased reopening

Pennsylvania is following a three-part, color-coded plan for reopening. Seventeen Pennsylvania counties will move to the green phase. However, none of them of are home to any of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos.

Casinos cannot open until its respective county is the green phase. Once in the green phase, casinos can reopen at 50% occupancy.

Casinos currently in the yellow phase (and their counties) are:

  • Presque Isle Downs (Erie)
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (Allegheny)
  • Lady Luck Nemacolin (Fayette)
  • The Meadows (Washington)

Casinos in the yellow phase (and their counties) on May 29:

  • Hollywood Casino (Dauphin)
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino (Luzerne)
  • Mount Airy Casino (Monroe)

Casinos in red phase, becoming yellow on June 5:

  • Harrah’s Philadelphia (Delaware)
  • Valley Forge Casino (Montgomery)
  • Parx (Bucks)
  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
  • Wind Creek Casino (Northampton)

The 18 mostly eastern PA counties that are home to 60% of the state’s residents are still in the red phase, which means stay-at-home orders until June 4. 

How is moving to the next phase in PA determined?

Various metrics are used, such as:

  • Counties have to report fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over the course of 14 days
  • Testing capacity
  • Hospitalization rates

Wednesday, May 20: Coronavirus safety protocols for PA casinos

The PGCB released “COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols, which details the minimum safety and health-related requirements that are mandatory before reopening.

Key points to note in the 10-page document:

  • Employees and guests must wear masks.
  • Markings on the floor to promote social distancing.
  • Enhanced cleaning throughout the facility.
  • Poker rooms are not authorized to operate due to players handling of cards and chips. Poker room operations will be re-examined based upon changing the CDC and PA Department of Health guidance.
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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